FOXE, John

FOXE, John
John Foxe was a zealous proponent of the English Reformation, renowned as the compiler of Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perilous Days (first edition, 1563), known popularly as The Book of Martyrs. This monumental collection influenced the formation of English Protestant identity and the de­velopment of nationalistic fervor during and after the reign of Elizabeth I* (1558-1603).
After receiving the bachelor of arts degree in 1538 and the master of arts in 1543, Foxe was expelled from Magdalen College, Oxford, because he opposed the vow of celibacy and membership in religious orders required of permanent fellows. He began to chronicle church history under the patronage of the staunchly Protestant duchess of Richmond. With the accession of the Catholic queen Mary I* in 1553, Foxe followed other Protestant ideologues in fleeing to the Continent to avoid persecution. Finding haven at Strasbourg, Frankfurt, and Basel, he followed John Bale's* practice of compiling documents concerning the persecution of Protestant "saints" (fervent believers) and martyrs both in England and abroad. His initial Latin publications, Commentarii rerum in ecclesia gestarum (1554) and Rerum in ecclesia gestarum (1559), afford the foun­dation for Acts and Monuments, published largely in the vernacular after the death of Queen Mary. Foxe followed the recommendation of fellow exiles, no­tably Edmund Grindal, later archbishop of Canterbury, that he chronicle the Marian persecutions in close detail.
Printed by the zealously Protestant publisher John Day, The Book ofMartyrs enjoyed considerable success and underwent four editions in Foxe's lifetime alone. In contrast to the representation of saints as superhuman figures in me­dieval legends, Foxe offers grisly accounts of the faithful perseverance and death of low-born and high-born people who testified to their religious faith to the point of death. A common thread emphasizes testimonials of faith by lowly artisans, workers, and theologians who denied the efficacy of the doctrine of good works and the salvific force of allegedly magical feats, miracles, paranor­mal cures, and relics typical in medieval hagiographies.
Among the best-known martyrologies are the examination and burning of Anne Askew* under Henry VIII* and accounts of the death of John Rogers, the first Marian martyr; the suffering of John Hooper, bishop of Gloucester; the reaffirmation of faith and subsequent burning of Thomas Cranmer,* archbishop of Canterbury; and the double execution of Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer. The famous woodcut for the last-named martyrdom is inscribed with Latimer's last words, which were to become a rallying cry of the English reformation: "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England, as I trust shall never be put out."
Editions of The Book ofMartyrs proliferated after its initial publication. By order of convocation, a copy of the 1570 edition was placed in every church in England. It has become a truism that if Protestant households in seventeenth-and eighteenth-century England or New England contained only two books, they would have been the English Bible and some version of Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Protestant families conducted assiduous readings from both texts.
D. Loades, ed., John Foxe and the English Reformation, 1997.
J. F. Mozley, John Foxe and His Book, 1940. W. Wooden, John Foxe, 1983.
John N. King

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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  • Foxe,John — Foxe (fŏks), John. 1516 1587. English martyrologist who wrote The Book of Martyrs (1563), an account of Protestant martyrs during the reign of Mary I. * * * …   Universalium

  • Foxe, John — ▪ British clergyman born 1516, Boston, Lincolnshire, Eng. died April 18, 1587, Cripplegate, London       English Puritan preacher and author of The Book of Martyrs, a graphic and polemic account of those who suffered for the cause of… …   Universalium

  • Foxe, John — (1516–87)    Historian.    Foxe was a native of Lincolnshire and was educated at the University of Oxford. He was acquainted with John bale who encouraged his interest in history and he was ordained in 1550 by Nicholas ridley. During the reign of …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Foxe, John —  (1516–1587) English clergyman, most remembered for the book commonly known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs; not to be confused with George Fox (1624–1691), founder of the Society of Friends, or Quakers …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • FOXE, John — (1516 1587)    English Protestant and author of Acts and Monuments of Matters Happening in the Church popularly known as Foxe s Book of Martyrs which documented ROMAN CATHOLIC persecution of PROTESTANTS. For at least two centuries this book was… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Foxe, John — (1516 1587)    Martyrologist, was b. at Boston, Lincolnshire, and ed. at Oxf., where he became a Fellow of Magdalen Coll. While there he gave himself to the study of the theological questions then in debate, and ended by becoming a Protestant, in …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • FOXE, JOHN —    martyrologist, born at Boston, Lincolnshire; in 1545 he resigned his Fellowship in Magdalen College, Oxford, on account of his espousing the doctrines of the Reformation, and for some years after he acted as a private tutor in noble families;… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • John Foxe — Nombre completo John Foxe Nacimiento 1516 Boston …   Wikipedia Español

  • John Foxe — (auch, Johannes Fox, * 1517 in Boston, Lincolnshire; † 8. April 1587 in London) war ein englischer Schriftsteller. Leben Foxe studierte am Brasenose College der …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Foxe — Infobox Writer name =John Foxe |frame caption = birthdate = 1517 birthplace = Boston, Lincolnshire, England1 deathdate = 1587 deathplace = England occupation = clergyman, author genre = church history movement = Puritan influences = influenced =… …   Wikipedia

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